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It was like coming back home for Christmas. Elbow room was in short supply, and if you were lucky enough to find a seat it was wise to stay put. The lights and homemade ornaments on the tree seemed to embrace the nostalgic atmosphere and beckoned the crowd to gather round to talk, laugh and remember.
The Owen County Historical Society Christmas party was held at the museum this year, and the spirit of Christmas lingered in every nook and cranny. The Christmas celebration was about sharing. Sharing food from God’s bountiful blessings. It was about meeting new friends. Historical society members Jim and Sandy Bush, who recently joined the society, celebrated the evening with us as did Monterey resident Jerry Raisor.
Jerry, who curates the River Museum near Boonesborough State Park and is involved in an archeological dig on the site of the original fort, will be our guest speaker in January.
He will present a program detailing the dig and describe the artifacts that have already been recovered.
The Christmas party was about music as the strains of Christmas carols traveled throughout the Hartsough House. Monterey resident Margaret Alice Murphy, who will soon celebrate her 94th birthday, proved that Christmas is not just for the young as her nimble fingers glided softly up and down the keyboard.
The party was about reminiscing as Wallace Bush gently withdrew a gold locket from his pocket. He carries this family treasure with him and related the story of its significance. As Wallace snapped open the locket, a picture of his mother was revealed. Though the image was a bid faded, her gentle smile seemed to illuminate the room. The locket had lost a bit of its sheen and showed evidence of tiny indentations. These were teething marks embedded into the gold and made by Wallace and his brothers when they were babies. This family heirloom, along with its story, will remain a cherished part of the Bush family’s history for generations to come.
The celebration was about enduring companionship. In front of the museum, Molly sat in a truck and in the backyard, Jackson sat in a van. Though neither was able to come into the museum to join in the party, they both patiently waited. They knew that when the festivities were over, they would be able in their own way to celebrate with their companions. Molly is a blue tick hound and is the side kick of Jerry Raisor and Jackson, a Labrador, travels everywhere with his family – Christie and Bill Kennedy.
The Christmas party was about honoring the dedication of historical society members Jeannie and Darrel Baker, who both made a significant impact upon the success of the society and its museum. President Larry Dale Perry presented Jeannie with a plaque in appreciation of her seven years service as the historical society’s president.
The celebration was about fun and games as gifts traveled from one person to another then back again. A variety of gifts showed up. Gag gifts, such as mouse traps and a string of old Christmas lights with just one bulb, brought gales of laughter from the participants. Useful gifts, such as an ice scraper and a key finder, were much appreciated; and assorted cans and packages of candies and nuts seemed to be a favorite of everyone.
The Christmas party was about stories from the past. As several of the men congregated to swap tales, they were asked about their adventures zooming down Owen County hills on sleds.
Junior Grisham declared he hadn’t taken to the hills in a number of years but he remembers doing so as a young boy. Laughing, he recalled sledding here, there and everywhere for as Junior proclaimed, “Owen County doesn’t lack hills for sled riding.”
Perhaps no one is aware that Owen County also offers snow skiing at least that is what Bud Dunavent claims. In the ‘60s, Bud had some water skis and he and a friend hooked a rope to a jeep.
As one drove the vehicle, the other skied up and down the streets of Owenton.
Most importantly of all, the Owen County Historical Society Christmas party was about relegating the decorations and presents to their proper place and celebrating the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.
As Dr. Joy Arnold-Morse read the Christmas story from the book of Matthew, a stillness settled over the room. Once again, all heard the good news from ancient history that was to change the world.
A single tree with ornaments made by children, a manger scene on the mantle, voices raised in Christmas songs and the hope for a brighter future. All reminiscent of Owen County’s past Christmas traditions; and all serving to remind us of the importance of preserving our history to enrich our future.
The Owen County Historical Society would like to thank Owenton City Council and the Zembrodt Foundation for their recent donations.
Our sincere gratitude also to all the other private donors and organizations who have assisted us this past year.
May you be as blessed by our work as we are of your support.
If you haven’t had a chance to do so, take a look at our website www.owencohistory.com. I think you will be pleased with the efforts of webmaster Christina Rice.